Saturday, September 18, 2010

Son of Contemporary Lit

A week-and-a-half in and I am starting to get a pretty good sense of where these kids are ability-wise. My ESL kids speak and write well, and struggle mostly with English idioms and figurative language in general. The students who receive special education services are pretty well all over the place. I sprung the first longer writing assignment on a bit too early. I would like for them to write a short memoir-style piece, but we began before I did any mini-writing activities. Scaffolding FAIL!!! I'm currently trying to work out the best way of backpedaling out of the assignment.

Yesterday we read Sandra Cisneros's A House of My Own and I had the students use it as a model to express their desires for the future. They shocked me first by really enjoying the short poem and then by really working on the modeling activity. I saw teenagers smiling proudly over their writing and really struggling to get the words right on the paper. I almost never get to see that. In a few days I'm going to try a similar short writing activity with students sharing their writing in small groups and talk with them about ways to read their own writing out loud. I want to know what they like about the assignments and see about doing it more with longer assignments later in the semester. We're getting to the bottom of this "Mister, I like this writing thing" thing.

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